Our day seven talking points start with Heather Watson who’s Wimbledon journey came to an end after a 6-2 6-4 defeat to Jule Niemeier. Watson had to follow the celebrations of the 100 year anniversary of Centre Court where the legends of past and present gathered to commemorate the occasion along with Cliff Richard. It was a tough act to follow and the Brit couldn’t manage to outpower or outsmart the big-serving German who was dominant throughout the contest and is into the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time.
Speaking on the defeat Watson admitted it was a missed opportunity as she couldn’t play her best tennis:
“I’m still quite deflated and disappointed. I saw today as a big opportunity,” Watson admitted in her press conference.
“I believed in myself, and thought I’d come through it. So, you know, I’ve always felt good enough. I mean, I’ve won four WTA titles. That’s not easy. I know when I light it up, I can play really well and beat anyone on my day, just like anyone on tour.
“Tennis is so up and down, so fickle. One minute you’re doing great, the next you’re out first round. I think I’m better at being more level headed. I’ll look back and be proud of myself I think for this week. But right now I’m a bit disappointed.”
Watson has every right to be proud of herself as she reached the last 16 of a grand slam for the first time as she looks to take her form and momentum into the rest of the season. The Brit also spoke about how Niemeier’s style of play meant that the match was very flat:
“I felt like the match was kind of flat because of the style of play. I felt like in a way I was playing like a serve-bot type thing,” Watson admitted.
“I was just trying to make as many returns as possible, holding onto my serve. It felt like more men’s tennis today than women’s. The points were just so quick. Like my last match, there was so many great epic points with slices, coming to the net. I didn’t feel like the rallies were long today at all, so maybe that had something to do with it. But I still felt the support, especially at the end there when I needed it. Yeah, I felt super supported out there today.”
Now Watson will turn her focus onto the doubles with Harriet Dart before recovering for the US hard court swing.
In some of today’s other talking points Jelena Ostapenko was the next big casualty to head out as she was defeated by 34 year-old Tatjana Maria 5-7 7-5 7-5 in a match that saw Ostapenko serve for the match. However the Eastbourne finalist couldn’t close it out as she heads home at the last 16 and after the match Ostapenko labelled Maria as lucky as she admitted that it’s disappointing to leave the tournament at this stage:
“I mean, of course I’m really disappointed, because I felt like I was like playing way better than she was,” Ostapenko said.
“Of course it’s strange to say it when you lose a match, but in general I felt like I was missing a little bit here and a little bit there. She got lucky, she framed it, put the ball on the line. Then the chair umpire did a huge mistake on 5-All in the third set when it was breakpoint on my serve and I had no challenges left. People who watched the match, they texted me that it was quite big out.
“All those small things together, they come and you can lose such a match. Of course I’m really disappointed because if I lost against an amazing player who just beat me in a great match, but I just lost my match. I just made mistakes. She just collected all my mistakes, unforced errors, and that’s how she won today.
“I mean, it’s always annoying to lose such a match, especially when you know you were a better player and you were a favourite in this match.”
Ostapenko was the favourite to reach the semi-finals from her section of the draw but will now reflect on what could have been. As for Maria her story is one of perseverance and the German said it’s an amazing feeling to reach the quarter-finals:
“There’s always the belief that I can do it. I mean, that’s why I came back after the first one. It’s why I came back after the second one,” Maria said.
“If not, if I don’t believe I can do these things, then I would not be here. So there’s always this believing and keep going and improving and trying my best at the end. I’m now in the quarterfinal of Wimbledon, so it’s really amazing for me. This means also that you always have to keep going. Doesn’t matter how old you are, doesn’t matter how many kids you have, you just have to keep going and to believe in yourself.”
Maria will now face Niemeier in an all German quarter-final in what is a golden opportunity for both players to reach their first grand slam semi-final.
Finally, on the men’s side there was a thrilling match on Court Two as David Goffin took on Frances Tiafoe for a place in the quarter-finals. It was a brutal tussle between two players who wanted to win badly and in the end it was the Belgian who triumphed over four and a half hours, 7-6(4) 5-7 5-7 6-4 7-5. After the match Goffin admitted it meant a lot to him to be back in the quarter-finals:
“It means a lot. For me, it’s almost like a back-to-back quarterfinal because I didn’t play last year. 2020 was closed with the COVID. The last time I played before this year was the quarterfinal against Novak on Centre Court,” Goffin said.
“I was very excited to come back here because it’s very important tournament for me because it’s probably my favourite tournament of the year, place that I love, surface that I can play really well. I had some great results on that surface. It means a lot.
“Especially, like you said, last year was a tough year for me with some injuries. I stop for four or five months at the end of the year. At the beginning of the year I had to fight and stay positive to come back to my best level. The last few weeks or last few months was much better.”
Goffin will now play Britain’s Cameron Norrie for a spot in the last eight on Tuesday.
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